Dubya & Me

A running account of how George W. Bush manages to stick his nose in my personal affairs, copy my style, and just generally rain on my parade at every available opportunity.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Men's Group


So my attempt at joining the spring in its rite of renewal had failed, my effort to live a "normal" life parboiled-in-place once again by our Commander-In-Chief. My date with Jane had fallen on its face with Dubya's arrival, turning what had been a pleasant evening into an embarrassing debacle. I don't know how I could've felt more frustrated. I was at my wit's end. I decided to seek professional help.

I went to the Yellow Pages and looked under "HELP", and there it was: "Tired? Frustrated? Struggling with Circumstances Beyond Your Control? Then call us at 1-800-R-U-NUTTS." I dialed the number and a pleasant enough woman's voice answered. "Hi! You’ve reached 1-800-R-U-NUTTS and 1-800-U-R-NUTTS — You've Got The Question, We've Got The Answer. This is Shirl, can I help you?"

I then proceeded to tell Shirl my tale of woe, leaving out certain particulars about Dubya, midget assassins, etc., lest they send someone to lock me up before I could hang up the phone. Shirl listened sympathetically, and after a few sentences she interrupted me to ask me for my zip code. She then told me that there was a Mens Group in my area convening that evening, and that I would most certainly find solace/relief if I attended, for only $79.95 plus tax. She said she would include with my order the CD "If Your Head Could Speak", which she recommended as must-hear material in order to get the most out of my experience. After all I'd been through, I said what have I got to lose, and so I gave her my credit card number. She then took all my particulars, thanked me, and said that since I was signing up on a Wednesday she would also include at no extra charge the CD "What Not To Worry About On A Wednesday", which she said I should listen to before beginning the program. Even though R-U-NUTTS's methodology was really starting to sound off the grid, I wanted to keep my an open mind, and so I just said thanks for the gifts and left it at that. She gave me an address to go to downtown at 8PM that evening, and to see a fellow named Rob.

I arrived about 15 minutes early, thinking there might be some sort of first-time formalities to be taken care of. I also hadn't had a chance to listen to any of the materials, so I thought maybe I could get a heads-up from this Rob person. I entered the room and there were 5 or 6 guys sitting on folding chairs arranged in a horseshoe. Everyone sat with their head in their hands, only briefly adjusting their fingers to allow them to see who had entered the room. I sat down on the nearest chair, and after a couple of minutes of silence, I asked if anyone in the room was Rob.

"I'm Rob." The guy sitting directly across from me identified himself, this time moving his hands only enough to allow his mouth to issue the two words.
"Well, hi, I'm..." I had stood up to shake his hand. Now Rob moved one of his hands from his face to block my further approach.
"Please...sit down...I know who you are. We're glad you're here." He grimaced as he spoke.
"But how..."
"Just...trust me. Sit down, please, and prepare yourself for the meeting."
"By doing?"
"Just...observe...and do likewise." I looked around and everyone was staring at me through their fingers again. One guy even nodded threateningly, as if I should do as Rob said if I knew what was good for me. Thinking that at least this was something different than being followed by the President, and that I did shell out the eighty bucks, that at I might as well go with the flow. So I sat down in my chair at put my head in my hands.

8PM arrived and everyone sat up in their chairs, practically in unison. Rob spoke.
"Hi my name is Rob, and today is definitely a Wednesday."
A chorus of "Hi Rob!"s answered his announcement. Rob continued.
"I'd like to welcome everyone to tonight's Men's Meeting of "How To Deal With A Wednesday", where our sole purpose is to get through this meeting, and to help others get through this meeting if we can manage to stop thinking of just ourselves for a moment." This guy was really starting to sound scary. I shook my head and started to stand up.
"Hey you guys can't be serious..." I remonstrated. Rob pointed a cautioning finger at me.
"Excuse me, but no cross-talk is allowed here. You will have your opportunity. And please sit down."
"No cross-talk? But this is supposed to be group therapy."
"Sir, if you continue to interrupt the meeting I am going to have to ask you to leave."
I wanted to say something really nasty, but I held my tongue and sat back down. Hey, it was only an hour, and these guys did look harmless enough. Maybe there was some ultimate, worthy point that they had yet to light upon. Rob continued.
"Tonight, as you know, is my last night as leader of our group. It has been a gratifyingly miserable experience to lead you these past months, and it will make me more forlorn than usual to have to pass the torch to your new commander."
Commander. I didn't like the sound of that word.
"Although not a regular member of this group, undoubtedly most of you will be familiar with the gentleman taking my place..." He turned to a Rumpelstiltskin-looking character sitting on my right. "...Except for you, Homer, because we all know you don't vote or watch the news."
Oh no. It couldn't be.
"So, it is with a heavy, heavy, heavy heavy heart, that I turn the meeting over to Dr. George W.B."
'Doctor?" This couldn't be happening.

And so in he strode from the hallway, as stiffly as ever, wearing a white lab coat sporting the ID tag "Dr. W.". He waved his right hand and smiled out at no one in particular, like the two houses of Congress were assembled there right in front of him. I stuck my face back in my hands.
"Thank you, Rob, for the kindly introduction. My name is Dr. Dubya and it is without question a Wednesday."
"Hi Dr. Dubya", rang back the chorus, of which I was not a part.
"Glad to be here tonight with you folks to engage in a little head shrinking...I mean positive thinking...heh."
The group laughed, with several members elbowing each other in knowing approval.
"Well, let's see here... I'm looking around and I haven't seen such glum faces since Donnie Rumsfeld gave his staff autographed pictures of himself instead of Christmas bonuses last year."
Everyone stared dumbfoundedly. Dubya sensed the group's nervousness.
"Well now he did tell those folks they could sell those pics on eBay if they wanted... make a little chump change, y'understand. Problem is everybody showed up as online sellers all at once and it kinda drove the price down. Ended up with folks gettin' together and sellin' three for a dollar."
I was still hiding in my hands. Dubya looked uncomfortable in this new role. Maybe if i just waited him out, he would leave on his own. Instead, he just pushed on through, rubbing his hands together in front of him and making like we were having a town hall meeting.
"You sir..." Dubya pointed at Rumpelstiltskin. "....why don't you tell us about your day?"
"Okay... My name's Homer and today is a Wednesday."
"Hi Homer." The chorus was really starting to bug me.
"Well, let's see... purty much everyone here knows about my wife..."
There was some muffled laughter.
"...and the dog... and all those empty soup cans. Along with all that other stuff I told you about. Well, things're purty much the same way it was last week. I mean, things just ain't... well you know, like other things. Maybe for a Thursday, say -- but not for a Wednesday. And that's all I got to say -- thanks."
Everyone nodded their heads in affirmation. Dubya spoke.
"Wow, Homer, I've heard a lot of great men speak, some in languages
I don't know if anyone understands, but I don't know if I've ever heard the problems that we all face summed up so well in so few words..." That was all I could take. I bolted to my feet.
"What the hell is wrong with you people?! What is all this Wednesday bullshit!? And George, your presidency is in the toilet and you still have nothing better to do than pal around with a bunch of wackos blaming their problems on the day of the week? Jesus Christ..." Dubya put out his hands, palms down, looking to restore order.
"Now friend Steve, we do know that today is Wednesday and that brings out the worst in folks..."
"My my, we are going to have to get you an extra workbook."
"I wouldn't worry about me so much George. The latest polls have your popularity at 29%."
"I don't worry about them things."
"Oh really?" He paused.
"You know what the problem is with them polls?"
"No -- tell me."
"They just ain't talkin' to the right people."
"You can't be serious..."
"I mean, you fellas here think I'm alright now, don't you?
The assembled lot nodded their heads and gave Dubya a mumbled chorus of general affirmation.
"See? Them polls don't know what they're talkin' about."
My shoulders drooped and I sighed heavily. I shook my head in defeat and headed for the door.
"You ain't walkin' out on us now, Steve? Remember, Wednesday ain't over yet..."
I turned before exiting.
"I know, George, I know. I'll just have to make it through somehow." A resounding "Good Night, Steve!" followed me through the door and out to my car. I drove away as fast as I could.

So I don't know where I'm going to turn next. Not only is therapy apparently not an option, but now I have a weird complex about the middle of the week. People are talking about impeaching the guy; Neil Young is singing about it. I'd love to think that impeachment would solve my problem, but that would only give him actual free time to bug the crap out of me. So what would end up as the world's benefit would be my burden. So I'm still in the hunt for a solution, or acceptance, or whatever. The one thing I'm sure of is that I'm glad that one particular Wednesday is over. Indeed. ***

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Big Date

This spring idea was really starting to take hold. The trees apparently thought it was OK to show some green; I hadn't seen a black ice slab on the roads in a month. So maybe I had actually survived winter -- bleakness, Bush, and all. I was even starting to feel almost cocky. Being on my own for months, though, had left me feeling desirous of female companionship. Unfortunately, there aren't a whole lot of eligible, attractive females in Delaware County, NY. The jokes about farm animals start to sound disturbingly viable after you're up here for a while. But, against all odds, I had made the acquaintance of a woman whom I'll call Jane.

Jane was affable, had a decent sense of humor, and was fairly easy on the eyes. I had met her comparing wild bird seed types at the supermarket, and I said to myself that anyone I can talk bird seed with merits an invitation to dinner, which she accepted. And so we were on.

We went to an Italian restaurant converted from an old train station. A nice place, other than the proprietors' choice to flash a lightning special effect and play steam engine noises every half hour or so. They were absolutely making sure you hadn't missed the fact that you were eating in a converted railway station, and the lightning was to somehow connote an even greater historicity. "Yeah, the good old days of steam engines and... lightning." Er, if you say so.

We'd gotten as far as our appetizer and endured two rendezvous's with "the good old days" when I noticed that the table next to us had an oversized "RESERVED" sign on it. Although Jane thought nothing of it, I had my suspicions. I had listed the reservation under the name "Cody Jarrett", a name I thought inconspicuous and anonymous, only remembering too late that it was James Cagney's title character name in the film "White Heat." It was that thought which was crossing my mind when he strode into the restaurant like he owned the place.

"Well look who it is, if it's not my old friend Cody Jarrett! And I thought you blew up on top of a gas tower!" Dubya gave me hearty slap on the back.
"Now isn't this a small world, me deciding to dine here tonight and getting seated right next to my good friend Cody. And who do we have here, Co'? This certainly isn't Ma Jarrett!" Chuckling, he gave me another slap on the back.
"No George, This my date. Jane, President Bush. President Bush, Jane."
"Why you old decider you -- I'd given you up for dead in your undershorts! Well I'm glad to see I'm not your only source of social intercourse."
"George, d'ya think you might just leave me alone this one time?"
"Weh...Shucks -- I just got here, friend. And I hear the clams casino are terrific! Just hope they're not like those prairie oysters I tried the other night. Weird shit..."
"Listen, I just heard on the radio that there's yet another storm brewing, this time over your choice to replace the CIA Director who quit."
"What storm? Hayden's a fine man -- a fine man..."
"But what do you really know about him?"
"Listen, I know all I need to know. His name is Hayden, and one of my favorite film performances is by Sterling Hayden in Dr. Strangelove."
"You selected him because he made you think of Sterling Hayden, the film actor?!" Dubya turned his palms up and out in front of him.
"How else do you think these kinda decisions get made?"
"But what about his political savvy, his experience in the intelligence community?"
"Now what in the hell does that matter? You think anyone on the hill has got a clue whether to put their shoes over their socks or vice versa? Hell no. Especially the intellligence community. If I need a good spy I go to one of those surveilllance shops I see online. Now those fellas are the real deal." I could not think of an appropriate response.

"George, this is disturbing news. So who's protecting you tonight? Where're your special agents Tiny Tim and Zelda?"
"They're on assignment safeguarding Cheney. He's out night huntin'."
"Night hunting? Sounds dangerous. Didn't you try to stop him?"
"Me and Dick have a deal. He lets me do whatever I want, and I let him and Rumsfeld blow up whatever country they feel like."
"That's outrageous -- I'm calling my Senator."
"Oh will you hush up! Besides, who're you gonna call, Hillary? Yeah, that'll get'r done." Dubya had left me speechless. I had no choice but to change the subject.

"So what agents do we have with us this evening?"
"Well, you see that midget with the beret over in the corner?"
"I think the politically correct thing to say is 'Little Person'".
"Oh, c'mon, cut it with that 'politically correct' shit, okay? Anyway, Henry, I mean 'On-ree' as he likes to call himself, is one of our best people."
Dubya lowered his voice.
"You see this pinky?"
Dubya raised his left hand and extended his pinky.
"If I touch my left pinky to the top of my right ear, On-ree will poke your eyes out before you can say 'Antonio Scalia'".
"I believe his name is 'Antonin'".
"What'd I'd say?"
"Oh fer Christ's sake, what's the difference?! You knew who I was talkin' about. First it's the midget crap, and now this. That's what's wrong with you liberals -- you spend so much time worrying about nitpicky shit like that. Jane, does he get nitpicky with you?"

And so it went for the rest of the evening, Dubya pulling up his chair to our table, being amiable enough to withstand for a few hours (as if I had a choice). He loved it every time the trains & lightning went off, and even asked for an unscheduled extra run. He kept talking to Jane, wanted to know all about her life, telling her what a great cook Laura was, etc., pretty much leaving me out of the conversation. I don't know if Jane liked him or not, but then I guess I'll never really know as she doesn't return my phone calls now. Chalk another one up for the Big Guy.

One day soon I'm going to have to figure out how to avoid this man. But until then I'm just going to have bide my time, ever listening for that West Texas accent, and keeping an eye out for little people in berets. ***

Friday, April 21, 2006

A Day On The Lake

Today was going to be a gorgeous spring day. I mean, it's the kind of day for which I moved to upstate NY. The weather was so accommodating that it looked to blow away the fetid doldrums of late winter/early spring, with its ever-present oppressive clouds and grey skies. I've come to the conclusion that the animals have really gotten it right in hibernating -- no woodchuck ever missed shovelling out a car or carting around bags of rock salt, trying not to slip and kill itself before it could lay the stuff down. It's said that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. So if you can survive a northern New York winter without putting your head through the wall or chewing off a bedpost, then you're probably in a great position to savor the joys of spring time.

So it was with great excitement that I looked forward to taking my old rowboat out of dry dock and heading out for my first full day of the new fishing season. If anything was going to bring me real peace of mind, it was going to be being out on the lake, finding a quiet rhythm of casting and reeling in, over and over again. I was really going to lose myself in the moment, in the quiet poetry of it all. And so there I was, snapping at the lake's surface with my line in the morning light. By mid-morning I had already caught a few perch which I would broil up for the evening's dinner. This was turning out exactly as I had planned. It was then that I felt a jarring thump against the side of the boat, somewhat akin to how Richard Dreyfus & co. felt in Jaws when the shark hits their boat while they're drunkenly singing.

"Say buddy, how're you doin' today?" His friendly greeting belied an inevitable, fouling intent. He had found me again, and had wrecked my moment but good.
"George, what the hell are you doing here? Isn't your administration still under fire? Don't they want to hang Rumsfeld at dawn? You can't have time for fishing."
"There's always time for fishing, good buddy. Especially when the company's as good as it is now."
"I can't say I share that opinion."
"Yer always a kidder -- that's what I love about you! So what are they bitin' at today? I got these neat bass lures that Condy gave to me. Didn't really take her fer a fisherwoman -- that gal never ceases to amaze me. You know I just found out she plays the pee-anah? She promised me she was goin' to play me "The Yellow Rose of Texas" the next time we got together.
"That's just great, George. Just great."
"And what do you think of my ride here?"
"It looks alright."
"'Alright' -- hell. It's a darn fine piece of marine mobility. I named her The Swift.
"Oh I get it -- The Swift Boat. Very clever. But I thought you weren't supposed to be actually allied with those wackos."
"That's right -- and I got a piece of beachfront property in Baghdad I want to sell ya..."
W. enjoyed his joke tremendously, rocking his boat and mine in the water.
"Hey George -- control yourself, you're gonna scare away the fish."
"Heck that don't matter much. We already got fish."
"What do you mean we? You just got here."
"I see you got a few. That's good enough for me."
I could see where this was going.
"These are mine."
"Well OK, but you just remember what happened to that lawyer fella when he wouldn't give up his quail when Sweet Ole Dick Cheney asked him to do so, so nice and politely. You saw what happened to that member of the bar."
"That was supposed to be an accident!"
"Boy, you do believe everything you read!"
"It was on Fox News..."
W. doubled over with laughter, pounding on the bottom of his vessel. After several minutes of this bout of amusement, W. collected himself and wiped the tears from his eyes.
"'It was on Fox News.' I haven't heard such a good one since 'Saddam's got weapons of mass destruction.' He slapped his knee and resumed his belly laughter.
"Alright George. I'm outta here."
"Not before you give me them fish."
"And who's gonna make me?"
"Me and everyone on the lake. Everyone you see out here today is a Secret Service Agent."
"Yeah right."
"You see that mother and baby over there on shore? That's Big Zelda and Tiny Tim, two of the most effective agents we got."
"But that woman weighs like 400 pounds!"
"That blub ain't real. It's a special lightweight prosthetic which she can fashion into an explosive device if necessary."
"And what about the baby?"
"Tim's a super-intelligent dwarf who can part a man from his nuts faster than you can say 'Michael Moore.'"
Seemingly on cue, Tim drew a huge retractable Bolo knife out of his diaper, concealing it as quickly as he had made it appear.
"Now how about them fish."
"You won't get away with this."
"And who's gonna believe ya? I've got big problems to deal with -- money to hand out to the military, gas prices gone wild, new cabinet members to pick -- all kinds of things. I ain't got time for fishin'. Now hand 'em over."
Again, seemingly on cue, Tim drew the Bolo. I had no choice but to cooperate.
"One day George, you and your out-of-control party are gonna get what's coming to you."
"From who? The Democrats? From the looks of it, Tim took their balls years ago."
W. once again broke into hysterics, pausing only briefly to admire my/his catch. Once he stopped laughing, he tipped his fishing hat to me, and motored off. When he got to shore, all of the apparent lake-goers converged on him, helping him out of The Swift. A helicopter appeared, W. and his entourage climbed aboard and was soon on their way. Hovering briefly over my craft, W. shouted out "Good luck, my friend... I hear they're biting!" And with that he was gone.
And so another attempt at beating the blues shot to shit by our Commander-In-Chief. It's getting so that I'm afraid to leave the house. But I think if I didn't, and I stayed into to watch a movie, he'd come and take my TV. He's right that no one would ever believe that a guy like him who's got so many responsibilities would spend so much time following me around. So I've got to figure out some other strategy, and quick.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Fancy Dress Party

Anyone who knows my story knows what a hassle I have not getting George W. Bush to follow me and screw up my life everywhere I go. This time, however, I thought I was in the clear. I got invited to a ceremonial costume ball in Australia, and I knew W. was busy at home dealing with the Ports scandal, wiretapping innocents, chaos in Iraq, all time low popularity, etc. He just couldn't have time to fly half-way around the world for a silly party. Feeling confident, I had my tailor make me up this ceremonial, indigenous Australian jacket. I don't what it's supposed to represent, but it looked good in a travel magazine so I said hey, let's go for it.
So I get there and you can imagine my shock and disappointment to see W. wearing the same exact outfit. He comes rushing over to me, smiling yet obviously indignant. Fortunately, I happened to have my digital voice recorder switched on for our conversation.
"Steve, what the hell yeh doin' here in mah outfit?"
"Your outfit?"
"That's what Sid said when he made it fer me. He guaranteed me I'd be the only one wearin' it, that everybody else'd be wearin' red. Which is true... except fer yerself."
"Sid fed me the same line of crap -- that SOB will do anything to make a sale. But hey, the bigger question, George, is what the hell are you doing at a costume party Down Under when you're administration is totally falling apart?"
"I beg to differ on that assessment, son. As a matter of fact I just spoke to my Vice President on the mo-bile, and he's tellin' me everything is going A-OK."
"He did, huh? And what about the polls?"
"The polls? The only polls I believe live somewhere near Romania. Heh heh. Get it?"
"Yeah I get it. Very funny. And clever, too."
"Yeah I thought so."
"But George, even the radical right is losing faith in you. What are you going to do when even those people fail to get behind you?"
"Oh don't you worry 'bout them. All I gotta do is make a speech and throw in a few hosannas and name-call a few evolutionists, and they'll fall back in line. Not the brightest bulbs in the room, them people."
"That may be true, but they're you're hardcore constituents."
"Hey, just because they vote for me don't me I gotta invite 'em over for a turkey shoot, if you know what I mean."
"I guess..."
"Speakin' of which, didja happen to spot the boo-fay?
"Over by the tent."
"Good. Flying Air Force One half-way around the world works up a hella of an appetite. And don't tell anyone I said so, but dang they show the worst movies. Heck, even I can watch Top Gun just so many times."
W. paused. He rubbed his wrist loosely, scanning the crowd idly before speaking.
"So when are you changing yer outfit?"
"I'm not."
"Well then, I guess my Secret Service boys will be seein' you out."
"You always do this."
"I know."
"It isn't fair."
"I know."
"I have my rights."
"I know. But you know what?"
"It's good to be the king! You take care now."
And so the next thing I know I'm on a flight back to the States. This has happened so many times that I can't even get upset anymore. One day that guy's not going to be President, and then we'll see who's wearing the cat's pajamas. †